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The Smart Fighter

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With a longer range, fast software updates and improved sensors, Gripen E is designed to be a pilot's delight.  Björn Johansson, Chief Engineer, Gripen E/F, describes Gripen E's features and capabilities from a pilot's perspective in one of his recent presentations.

Johansson explains that Gripen E’s improved sensors means a better detection range and a wider field of view. This gives a better picture of the battle field enabling a pilot to be more accurate during the flight. Not only this, the new sensor fusion/decision support minimizes workload as well.

sensor1.jpgJohansson further adds that electronic warfare system in Gripen E gives better warning/protection, owing to better frequency coverage, improved direction accuracy, improved jamming capability and automatic activation of countermeasures.​

Read the full presentation: Gripen From A Pilot’s Perspective​​

​Following a four day flight from Sweden passing many countries and a last stop at Port Blair, three Gripen C aircraft touched down at Wing 7, Surat Thani, on Friday, 5 April. 

The first aircraft landed at 6:14 in the evening with the two other a few minutes later. RTAF Commander, ACM Prajin Juntong greeted and thanked the pilots for a job well done and then invited them to a friendly Thai reception in the Wing´s Gripen hangar along with Thai press, RTAF officers and Swedish guests. 

Swedish and Thai VIPs and the three pilots in front of the newly arrived aircraft

The Gripens have been parked, engines are turned off and canopies opened

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RTAF Commander ACM Prajin Juntong is handed a Gripen model painted in RTAF colours with Wing 7 insignia by Colonel Fredrik Hedén from FXM. Colonel Per Nilsson, FMV, looks on. 

Anna-Karin Rosén, SAAB, ACM Prajin Juntong, RTAF, Colonel Fredrik Hedén, FXM and one of the Swedish pilots that brought the aircraft to Thailand

During 8 to 12 April, two Gripens will be flown from the Swiss airbase Emmen, near Lucerne. The flights take place at the request of the Swiss defence procurement authority armasuisse.

The flights are carried out to verify the functionality of the Gripen fixed 27 mm automatic on-board cannon in the Swiss environment, which was not done previously. A total of five flights will be made, of which the last two will be with live ammunition.

"Along with a Swiss test pilot, I will carry out the validation flights at the air force shooting range in Axalp, located at 2200 meters altitude in the mountainous area in the central part of the country," said Richard Ljungberg, chief test pilot at Saab.

Gripen in Emmen 8april Peter Liander 9449-10.jpgGripen lands Emmen 8 april Peter Liander 6566.jpgGripen arrives Emmen Liander 9467-72dpi.jpg Gripens arriving at Emmen airbase on Monday morning, 8 April.

Unlike the single-seat Gripen (Gripen C and Gripen E), the two-seater (Gripen D and Gripen F Demonstrator) is not equipped with on-board cannon. For this reason, the flights of this week will be carried out with the single-seat Gripen C version.

Please click here​ for more information in the media release from the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports (DDPS) in Switzerland. 

Images: Peter Liander​

The Gripen will feature in Saab’s participation at the  LAAD 2013, to be held at Ricocentro, Brazil between 9 and 12 April 2013.

LAAD Defence & Security International Exhibition is the leading event for the sector in Latin America. It brings together Brazilian and international companies that specialize in supplying equipment, services and technology to the armed forces, police and special forces, security services, consultants, and government agencies.

With Brazil’s growing role in world economics and its hosting of world events such as the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, Saab sees an opportunity to offer long term co-operation and partnerships  between Brazil and other Latin American Industry and customers .

At LAAD 2013, Saab will demonstrate its variety of key capabilities, systems and products of highest quality in the following domains. Fighter aircraft, integrated C2 and situational awareness, Air Traffic management, GBADS, signature management, security management, AEW, platform and protection, GCT, and for the first time at LAAD, Maritime Surveillance Aircraft and roatary wing UAV, Skeldar.

“LAAD 2013 will once again be an opportunity for Saab to show its large product portfolio and show Saab as a reliable, long term partner of Brazil and Latin America,” says Ake Albertson, Saab’s Country Manager in Brazil.

A short exercise will be performed at the event, several times in a day by people from Saab Aeronautics and the Swedish Air Force, showing Gripen's outstanding qualities in a long range air-to-air combat using the Gripen fighter datalink and a spread out formation.

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Saab is looking to partner with Swiss companies to develop, produce and assemble key components of the Gripen E aircraft, including the rear fuselage. According to Saab, this would create a business of up to 200 million Swiss francs,

The components to be produced in Switzerland include the rear fuselage, weapons station, tail cone, air brakes and external fuel "drop" tanks. The Swiss suppliers will be given full technology transfer needed to develop these components.

"We are currently in discussions with Swiss companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, throughout all regions of Switzerland that can be involved in this major project," said Lennart Sindahl, head of Saab's Aeronautics business area.

According toNZZ, Switzerland would be developing the most essential products for Gripen E in the first order package. For the Swiss industry, this means a business volume of over 500, 000 man hours of work.

Read the full story:  Saab: Switzerland Industry Alone Supplier of Gripen E Component​

Swiss suppliers are to receive large orders​​

Image: Peter Liander

Gripen E.jpgDesigning a fighter aircraft is the fine art of making the right compromises, explains Björn Johansson, Chief Engineer Gripen E/F, in a presentation called “What is Gripen E” at a recent seminar in Stockholm.

Johansson, who happens to be the first pilot to log more than 1000 hours on Gripen, starts the presentation by talking about the Swedish Air Force’s requirements between 2020 and 2040. As compared to Gripen C/D, the Gripen E/F should have an extended range and increased weapon payload, Mil-Std 1760E cl. 2 weapon pylon inter face among other things, he says. 

There were two possible solutions to Sweden’s future requirements, Johansson points out: A new “white paper” project with technically no set limits/constraints could have been started. This would have involved extensive testing and would have been more expensive. Alternatively, the existing Gripen could be modified by reusing deigns and parts and this would be a less expensive and hence a better option.

Johansson says that the Gripen (NG) Demonstrator programme was able to show that the Gripen could be modified to meet customer requirements on range, payload, new sensor suite/weapons/electronic countermeasures. The Gripen NG Demo also demonstrated that it was possible to install an engine with higher thrust, an AESA-radar, a new avionics system and carry more internal fuel. Further, this approach reduced cost and lead time by 60%, thanks to new processes and new supplier strategy, MBD for airframe design, MBSE for systems development. Most important, the Gripen Demo significantly reduced risks involved in ...

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To meet the challenges of supporting the Gripen in extreme weather conditions with temperature dropping down to -25 degrees, the Swedish Air Force ground personnel have to be ready and prepared all the time. Kent Löving writes in the forsvarsmakten​ about how the task of getting an aircraft battle ready and back in the air in, sometimes, five minutes is the challenge that keeps technicians going. 

One needs people on the ground to put planes in the air and, for that, the whole business of  reloading, refueling, checking engines and making sure that the required missiles are loaded correctly is critical to keeping planes in the air. 

Read a short account of the life of a Gripen technician in Eye On Technology

Image Courtesy: forsvarsmakten​

​RTAF Gripen performed a spectacular aerobatic act at the LIMA’13, Malaysia’s top air show, that ended last Sunday. The video shows Gripen's magnificient aerial displays in a clouded sky. 

A Gripen simulator was also on display at the Saab stand. Organised after every two years, LIMA'13 offered strategic opportunities for traders and industry members to network and showcase their latest products. 

Here are a few snapshots from the event:

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RTAF Gripen at LIMA'13

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RTAF Gripen taking off for the air display
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Maj. Gen. Micael Bydén, Chief of Staff of the Swedish Air Force and his RTAF conterpart Marshal Prajin Juntong greet each other 

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Royal Thai Air Force Gripens are being prepared for the show

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Malayan pilot, flying the Gripen simulator

Hungarian Gripen in the air. Photo Victor Veres.jpg
Hungarian Gripen fighters are likely to defend Slovenia's airspace in the near future, says a news report in BAON.The agreement between Defence Minister Csaba Hende and Slovenian counterpart Ales Hojs Lendava was finalized in Slovenia. Csaba Hende said that the agreement for involvement of Hungarian Defence Forces in the defense of Slovenian airspace was preceded by several years of preparatory work. He said that the final agreement is expected to be signed in May.

“The definitive agreement signed between the two countries must be authorized by the governments." Csaba Hende said.

Read the full story: Kecskemét fighters will also protect the airspace of Slovenia​

Image: Victor Veres

​The sun shone and the crowd beamed as two Gripens flew by at noon on Saturday, to open the day’s racing at the Swedish Ski Games in Falun, central southern Sweden. 

Saab is sponsoring the Swedish Ski Games in Falun in 2013, 2014 and in 2015 when the town plays host to the Nordic World Ski Championships.

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